Dust Bin Schlager!
posted by February 29 at 11:11 AMon
I’ve heard that word describe music for a long time, but never really investigated what the hell it meant.
I know that in the 70, a time when major record labels would release double album compilations of their latest artist and potential hit songs, Warner Brothers released a double album called SCHLAGERS! I just assumed the title had something to do with the singer-songwriter/proto-fm rock that was on the album which included artist like Joni MItchell, Petula Clark, Gordon Lightfoot, Herbie Hancock, Arlo Guthrie, Randy Newman….
But then I’ve also heard it describe pop music that comes from European countries that is slightly based on folk songs or vaudville styles, and western (English language) pop music translated into whatever countries original language. An example would be an Everly Brothers song translated into Finnish.
The biggest champion of this style in the past, before turning to crazy metal bands and transexual dance music, was the ever-poular Eurovision Song Contest, in which European countries vie for the prize by presenting a song that A: represents its country by being in an official language of that country, and B: sung live.
There are English language Schlagers, I believe, that have been hits in the UK. One huge hit-making schlager machine was, of course, ABBA. There songs like, “Thank You For THe Music” and “Fernando”, based on old stage song styles in the former and folk songs in the later, were huge hits world wide.
But here’s a couple of other interesting schlager songs of note.
Brotherhood Of Man had their first hit “United We Stand” in the UK and US in 1970, but really hit the big time with their Eurovision winner of 1976, “Save Your Kisses For Me”. I believe this may be the ultimate british schlager.
Here they are with their choreography, bell-bottoms, “winks” and everything performing the song on the Eurovision broadcast that year.
The last line is nearly so sachrine as to give you a tooth-ache!
And then there’s Kelly Marie, who I’ve written about before, before she went disco and pop in the late 70’s and 80’s her show-tune style of belting out crap lyrics over vaudvillian pop tropes. Here’s one of her big hits “Who’s That Lady With My Man”.
Once again, crap-tastic choreography, AND the killer last line, which adds the twist-of-the-knife aspect to the song.
Also notice the use of clarinet (kind of klezmer-ish)in the verses and the traditional folk-song, sing-song chorus, which would be incredibly easy for anyone in another country to learn. Hence these songs being huge hits in other European countries.
So there you go, in case you ever wondered what the term Schlager meant.
And just in case you want to impress your friends with your crap taste in music….
PS. Kelly Marie has a really amazing, extensive website!
PPS. I love these songs (I know, sad.)